An early and intense flu season is putting Suffolk residents on edge, with many scrambling to find a flu shot as supplies dwindle.
It's exactly what County Executive Steve Bellone is urging locals to do.
“It’s not too late to get your flu shot,” County Executive Bellone said in a statement. “This isn’t just about protecting yourself, getting a flu shot is about protecting your family and those closest to you.”
According to Google's map of flu trends across the country, New York is in the grips of an "intense" flu season and The Centers for Disease Control has credited it with causing the death of 18 children across the country.
The CDC also said this year's vaccine is a good match for the flu strains that affecting people, and added that it's crucial that children over six months old get immunized.
“Most people who become infected with the flu will suffer with fever, congestion, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches over the course of a week or two and will eventually recover completely, said the County's Health Commissioner James Tomarken. “However, some are at greater risk for serious complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death. The good news is that immunization can help protect us from the flu.”
On Friday, many local pharmacies ran very low ont he vaccines, with others running out completely.
"Due to high demand caused by the early outbreak of influenza, some of our locations may experience intermittent, temporary shortages of flu vaccine, but we still have vaccine in stock and we resupply our pharmacies and clinics as quickly as possible," Mike DeAngelis, public relations director for CVS pharmacies, told Patch.
The CDC also offered the following tips:
- Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctors’ offices, clinics, local health centers, pharmacies, college health centers and places of business.
- Though this year’s flu vaccine has shown to be 62 percent effective, some people may still get the flu; however, their symptoms will be milder than if they had not received the vaccine.
- Students and adults should stay home from school or work if they develop influenza-like illness, such as fever, congestion, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches lasting a week or two.
- If you do get sick, wash hands often and cover your coughs and sneezes. It’s best to use a tissue and quickly throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. This will prevent the spread of germs.
- Get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids.
- Individuals who are particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza should seek medical attention at the first signs of illness. This includes adults over 65 years of age, young children, pregnant women, those with diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions, or chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and those who are severely obese.
County to Host Community Policing Forum
Bellone this week also announced a community policing forum to take place on Jan. 14, at 6 p.m., at the Brentwood Public Library.
Panelists will include Maryann Slutsky, moderator and executive director of Long Island WINS; Beresford Adams, pastor Faith Baptist Church of Coram and president of Brookhaven NAACP; Gregory Maney, professor of sociology and co-director for Hofstra University's Center for Civic Engagement; Suffolk County Police Department Chief James Burke; Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Suffolk County Police Department Risco Mention-Lewis; Assistant Deputy County Executive Errol Toulon Jr. and Luis Valenzuela, executive director of Long Island Immigrant Alliance.